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Home improvement chain expands virtual “how-to” classes


Virtual reality is making its way to Canada — Lowe’s Canada, that is.

On the heels of Lowe’s “Holoroom How To” virtual reality-based DIY skills-training clinic debut in the chain’s Framingham, Massachusetts store last month, the concept is now available in Lowe’s Canada’s Burlington, Ontario location.

While wearing the virtual reality headset and holding a controller in each hand, shoppers become immersed in a DIY project — such as tiling a shower — and given step-by-step instructions to complete the task. From mixing the mortar to laying the pattern, the simulation walks the user through each step of the process.

Haptic feedback, such as feeling the vibration of a drill through the controller, adds to the life-like experience without the waste or mess of testing a DIY project in the real world. Initial testing of the technology has proven an increase in recall, a boost in customer confidence and motivation to take on DIY projects, according to Lowe’s Canada.

“We are excited to be a partner of Lowe's Innovation Labs and to make the Holoroom How To experience available to our Canadian customers, as it clearly illustrates how innovation can enable us to go one step further in supporting and inspiring our customers in their renovation projects," said Claire Bara, VP strategy and business insights for Lowe's Canada.

"The Canadian market represents a great platform for the Lowe's Innovation Labs to test some exciting new projects,” she added. “With its diverse portfolio of brands and store formats, Lowe's Canada offers many varied opportunities for learning.”

The chain plans to add the technology in a Rona store in Beloeil, Québec, in the next few weeks. Then, over the next several months, Lowe's will evaluate customer response to gauge how the technology is impacting customer learning and confidence.

Specifically, Lowe's plans to evaluate how Holoroom How To will enable instantaneous learning moments and scalable training opportunities that empower both customers and employees, according to the retailer.

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